Sound Symphony Bios
Daniel F. Millheiser, President
I am the proud co-founder of the Sound Symphony back in 1984, and am also President and Chairman of the Board. I began playing violin in 4th grade and received my Music Ed Degree in 1968 from Ithaca College, where I studied violin and viola with Donald Wielerstein of the Cleveland Quartet, and ensemble with Michael Gilbert of the American Symphony. While at SUNY Brockporrt, I studied conducting with Ascher Temkin at the Bi-Centennial conducting seminar. During my professional teaching years, I conducted All-County, Tri-County, All District, and area All-State festivals throughout New York State. I taught in the Medina and Brentwood schools for 39 years, and am presently serving on the Long Island Music Hall of Fame Educational Board. My viola is a beautiful "Pelligrina", one of three in the Symphony.
Elizabeth Jaklitsch, Secretary
I grew up in West Islip and graduated from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. Teaching strings in the Smithtown School District from 1973-1978 was very pleasurable prior to “retiring” to become a full-time mom. I’ve been a violinist with the Sound Symphony for since 1987 and a member of the Board of Directors for since 2001. I was the principal 2nd violin in the Hampton Chamber Orchestra for several years and am currently Concertmaster of the West Islip Symphony Orchestra. In addition to teaching a few violin and viola students every week, I enjoy spending time with my 5 grandchildren and traveling with my husband.
Cheryl Keenan, Treasurer
I started playing viola in my elementary school music program and continued playing through my university years while majoring in applied sciences. Although it’s not my profession, music has been and always will be my creative outlet. I
joined the Sound Symphony in 1992 and became a proud member of the viola section. I have been on the Board of Directors serving as Treasurer since 1995.
Daria Blyskal, General Manager
I am so grateful to my parents and sisters for instilling a love of classical music in me at an early age. From squeaking through elementary school concerts with my puny half-size rental violin to joining the Sound Symphony with Niccolo, my sensuous 200 year old Hudson violin, music education has been a delightful, ongoing process. I studied privately with Paul Chou and Timothy Schwarz at Lehigh University while earning my BA in premedical science. After completing my MD at Drexel University College of Medicine and family medicine residency at The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, I joined Sound Symphony in 2010 and have happily committed to a regular rehearsal and concert schedule ever since. My passions outside of music and medicine include environmental advocacy, yoga, travel, and (almost) all things Italian.
Christine Desiderio, Librarian
I joined Sound Symphony in 1993 and enjoy my roles of principal 2nd violinist, librarian, and member of the Board of Directors immensely. I’ve been a music teacher in the Miller Place School District since 1992. My current classes include 6th grade orchestra, 7th grade general music, high school orchestra, and cello ensemble. I’m also a proud member of the East Island String Quartet, which plays for weddings, cocktail hours, and special events all around Long Island. My wonderful husband Lenny and I enjoy our relaxation time with our seven crazy cats.
Wendy Fogel, Concertmaster
After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in Violin Performance, I joined the first violin section of the Jerusalem Symphony in Israel. Subsequently, I enjoyed four years freelancing in London, England with the London Festival Ballet and Royal Ballet Orchestras, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, London Mozart Players,Kent Opera, Philomusica, and London Chamber Orchestras. I was appointed concertmaster of the Sound Symphony in 1991, occasionally performing as a soloist with the orchestra. I am also the concertmaster of the Hampton Chamber Orchestra. In addition to freelancing with many other groups on Long Island, I am a founding member of the Allegri Chamber Ensemble and Peconic Chamber Orchestras. I maintain a teaching studio in my home in Stony Brook, and am the mother of four adult children.
Jennifer Haley, Personnel Manager
I studied music performance and psychology at Indiana University, and earned a master’s degree in education and doctoral degree in child psychology from Pace University in Manhattan. A doctor by day, I’m an avid musician and instructor by night! I’m principle flutist with the Adelphi Symphony Orchestra and perform regularly with the Atlantic Wind Symphony and Sound Symphony. My most influential teachers have included Peter Lloyd, Julius Baker, Allison Hubbard, and Harold Bennett. In addition to performing, I find great joy in teaching, and have maintained a private flute studio since the early 1990s.
Glenn Kantor, Program Notes
I began playing clarinet at the age of 10, and by the age of 15 was also doubling on alto and tenor saxophone. I earned my Bachelor of Music degree with honors from the Crane School of Music (SUNY Potsdam) with a dual major of music education and clarinet performance, and my Master of Arts in music history from Queens College (CUNY). My principal clarinet teachers have been Jack Levine (NBC staff musician), Harry Phillips (SUNY Potsdam) and David Etheridge (University of Oklahoma). After completing 20 years of teaching instrumental music in the public schools and 3 years in private schools, I maintain a busy private studio giving lessons on all woodwind instruments and have enjoyed serving the position of principal clarinetist with the Sound Symphony since 1985.
Ira Kocivar, Historian
A graduate of the State University College at Oneonta and CW Post-LIU, I had the good fortune to study viola with Barbara Stadulis, Myron Bazarian, Thomas Siemiatkoski, Albert Rauscher and John Mazarak. I devoted most of my public school career to the students of the Patchogue-Medford Public Schools. In addition to my private violin and viola practice, I currently teach music classes at North Shore Jewish Center. A member of the Sound Symphony since its inaugural season, I’m also a member of Music Performers Club and the klezmer music ensemble Hot Latkes. Additionally, I was a founding member of the Island String Quartet. I live in Setauket with my wife Terry and enjoy hiking, photography and family adventures.
Cynthia Corvese, Stage Manager
From a very young age it was apparent to me that I had interests in the arts and sciences. Since then I have been learning how to balance the two. As a child I always had a deep appreciation for music, I had joined my elementary school’s choir and even looked forward to those early music classes with recorder. My school district did not offer a strings class until junior high, to which at that point I decided that I wanted to learn how to play an instrument. I chose violin and instantly gravitated to it. I played all throughout junior high up until I graduated as a senior in high school in 2007. Unfortunately when I went to university to pursue a degree in biology, I had stopped playing during that time. Once I got into nursing school four years later, I grew to really miss playing the instrument that had once captivated me. At that moment I had decided to take lessons again and join the Sound Symphony orchestra in 2012. Since then I have revived my passion for playing music and have incorporated it into my life in such a way that balances my busy work life as an ICU nurse. As I grow within Sound Symphony as not only a musician, but as also the stage manager, I have built up my identity as a music lover. Along with music, my other interests include critical care nursing, birding, hiking, astronomy, drawing, and painting.
Erin Pipe, Publicity
I joined the Sound Symphony in 2008, and was immediately attracted to the exciting repertoire and welcoming orchestra members. I graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2013 with a degree in Cello Performance and Spanish Education. After graduating, I moved to Spain to teach English for two years. Now back home on Long Island, I am happily teaching Spanish in the Mount Sinai School District, and love being able to share my experiences abroad with my students. My interests outside of music and teaching include traveling, playing tennis and basketball, and recording duets with my sister.